Conquering Munich in Three Days
Let’s be honest, anyone can compile a list of things to do in Munich after a simple online search. Instead, what my post offers are some visitor tips and tricks to conquering Munich in a short stay. So let’s skip the boring city descriptions and get to the nitty gritty.
Post written by Chad Bobrosky
Don’t drive, seriously. If you plan on staying downtown (which I would recommend) don’t drive - your hair will turn grey and your pockets will empty. First of all, the road network downtown is confusing and inefficient, and what might be an 8 minute walk will easily turn into a 15 minute drive down pedestrian packed narrow roads (and that’s not incorporating how many times you take a wrong turn). Secondly, parking downtown is expensive (don’t count on your hotel picking up that bill, that’s probably extra). There is street parking in the blue zones, but it is often limited to two hours and can cost upward of .50 cents/12 min.
*Tip #1) free parking in blue zones on Sundays lasting 'til Monday morning
Take the public transportation network! Even though I arrived by car, I used the metro to get to the places outside of the city center. I won’t pretend to suddenly be a U-Bahn expert, so consult the online metro map to figure out where to go and what pass you need. If you are traveling in a group, however, definitely get the group day passes (2-5 adults) as they are the cheapest option. If you are still confused of where the metro can take you, go to the information desks in the U-Bahn station; they are super helpful and will most likely be fluent in English.
There were three standout places from our trip to Munich, the BMW museum, the Nymphenburg Palace, and the Victualienmarket. The St. Peters Church is a plus that we didn't have the chance to see.
You don’t have to be a car lover to enjoy the BMW museum, but it certainly helps. If you aren’t a car geek however (which for the record I am not) the architectural design of the building and its modern displays make it a pleasant, memorable, and user friendly experience. The museum itself is enormous, and the collection of cars, motorcycles, engines, and everything else BMW related is nothing short of spectacular. You can learn about the history of the brand, look at some cool retro to futuristic cars, or perhaps even have a photo op due to its bright white light interior.
The Nymphenburg Palace
Stop what you’re doing, block off an entire day, wear some sneakers and head to the Nymphenburg Palace. Hands down, this was one of, if not the most impressive Palaces we have toured to date. We opted for the complete pass (reasonably priced) which enables us to visit all the sites around the palace grounds, which we definitely recommend. What we didn’t realize was just how large the palace grounds were and how much walking around it involved, so wear comfortable shoes. Pack a picnic and spend the day wandering the grounds and going between the beautiful palace houses & museums.
Pros about the Museum
- No tour guides! Feel free to wander around by yourself at your own pace
- The park surrounding the palace is GORGEOUS, you could easily pack a picnic and spend a day relaxing on the grass.
- Great value for the quantity and quality of the exhibitions
Things to keep in mind
- A lot of walking is involved to get to place to place, so grab a map and be ready for some trails.
- Pack a water bottle! The day we went was particularly warm and there weren’t many water fountains around.
A LOT of people recommended this market to us, and although it didn’t best the Nymphenburg Palace, the market is a great place to grab a cheap beer and some grub. The market also features a ton of cute pop up stands where you can find anything from souvenirs to some quality fresh produce. As a location adored by both locals and tourists, I definitely recommend checking out the market when you’re near Munich’s central core. Our hotel - the Louis - overlooked the market so it was definitely somewhere that we frequented often in our Munich stay (you can click herefor my review on the hotel as well).
St Peters Church
In full disclosure we didn’t actually climb the church tower or see much of the inside of the church at all, because by this part of our trip we had seen so many churches that we were “churched out”. However, it was recommended by so many locals and travel guides alike which makes it impossible to ignore. The views from the tower are said to be spectacular, so I would also recommend a visit if you have the time.
I always recommend eating the local specialties and checking out the local spots. Even if you don’t end up liking the dish, you can at least say that you tried it. For Munich, I hope you weren’t on a strict diet because its signature dishes are generally pretty heavy. My advice: ask the servers what they recommend (this doesn’t always work, however, as the more local the location, the less other languages are spoken) or just hope for the best.
*Tip #2) download a translator app! There are free apps available that can translate pictures of text and you can pre download the language pack (both free). A lot of menus we have encountered have only been in the local language, and this app can be a real help.
Where to eat? Geeze we’re not locals, ask them!
WHERE TO EAT - FROM THE LOCALS
- The market (Victualienmarket)
- Beim Sedlmayr
- Restaurant Broeding
- Wirtshaus Ayingers
- Upper Eat Side
- Hofbräuhaus – Okay, so we were actually told to avoid this place because “it’s full of tourists”, to which my response (in my head) was “okay cool, that’s me”. But the advice did have merit - The food; not great. The beer; same as everywhere but overpriced. BUT it’s one the oldest beer halls in Munich and one of the most famous beer halls in the world. So don’t go in expecting a grand spectacle, but it’s still interesting to see even if it has turned into a bit of a tourist trap.
More quick tips for Munich!
- NO SHOPPING ON SUNDAY AND STORES CLOSE AT 8PM MON-SAT. Thanks to the Ladenschlussgesetz law (yeah I Googled it) all stores in Bavaria have these hours with some weird exceptions. If you’re visiting on a weekend, get those Birkenstocks on Saturday and leave Sunday for exploring instead!
- Cheap beer at the supermarkets! Sure, it’s not quite the same as enjoying one from a Bavarian style mug, but it will certainly save you a ton of euros.
But what about Oktoberfest?!?!?!
Initially I was pretty disappointed that we were missing oktoberfest and was unsure if I'd get the same Munich experience without it. From reading posts online, the consensus seems to be that Oktoberfest IS something quite unique, but that the added cost of accommodation & extra large crowds make it less appealing and at times not worth it. Online forums mention other beer festivals around germany that offer an authentic and similar bavarian beer experience without the downsides.
The beer halls still stand in Munich & the beer is still served by waitresses in lederhosen, so if you travel to Munich on a date that isn't Oktoberfest, you will still get a taste of Bavaria!
If you feel like I missed anything, or have some more suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me!